Being an alcoholic is a bitch… and for several reasons.
As a recovering alcoholic, I understand what it’s like to deal with how other people see you. For all of you that are struggling with this disease, believe me, I get it. It’s so easy to self-medicate by turning to the “F-It juice, rather than dealing with the true underlying issue on your own.
I have compiled my own personal list of why alcoholism sucks. I narrowed it down to my top five.
- The need for normality. You’re the only one in the circle that can’t drink. Yikes. Therefore, this sort of makes it difficult to hang out with those friends and associates who DO drink. However, you don’t want to be the oddball out of the group, so you go back and forth in your head pondering if it’s okay for you to take a drink “just this once”.
What they don’t understand: As an alcoholic, seeing them drink literally has your mouth watering. The very smell of liquor ignites cravings that you try so hard to battle. It’s not their fault. They just don’t get it. And, you’d rather take a drink than to have to actually sit there and explain it to them.
- Trying to get people to understand. Trying to get people to understand what it actually means to be an alcoholic is just about the hardest think you will ever have to do in life. Even after you’ve gone through explaining that it is an actual disease that you do ACTUALLY need treatment, there are those individuals that will still ask you the million-dollar question: “Why can’t you just stop?”
What they don’t understand: If an alcoholic could stop, they would actually stop. No, they don’t like being a “drunk” or making other’s lives miserable. Withdrawal symptoms are VERY real. If you have been a heavy drinker for a while, coming off of the bottle can be quite a painful experience. Sometimes, it seems easier just to take that next drink.
- The constant judgement. Unfortunately, this comes almost instantly. Usually when people don’t understand something that you’re dealing with, they distance themselves, or they judge you.
What they don’t understand: That shit hurts. If you ever needed someone in your life EVER, you need them right now. To be forced into handling addiction by yourself, and with a lot of ridicule, is something that no human being should ever have to endure.
- The depression that you are using the alcohol to cope with. The thing is, alcoholism is just a symptom of what the actual mental issue is. In my case, it was depression. I was in a depressing relationship, with depressing circumstances. Therefore, I turned to alcohol to deal with “this person,” and those circumstances.
What they don’t understand: Mental disease is ALSO a REAL disease. Some people are able to cope with it without treatment, while others can’t. If you can’t, it doesn’t make you any less of a human being.
- The struggle that you endure each day to stay sober. Coming from someone who has relapsed previously, I, for one can attest to the fact that it is the most difficult task that you will probably encounter in a lifetime. They tell you in AA to stay away from triggers, but what if coming in contact with those triggers are inevitable. I get it. It’s tough.
What they don’t understand: You’re not like everyone else. You never will be. Your heart hurts a little bit more and your mind is constantly on over drive.
After all of this, there is STILL light at the end of the tunnel. Even after going through alcohol rehab, it still took me a long time to get it. I just wanted to be a normal person. Therefore, I kept playing with alcohol; I kept pretending that I could stop drinking if I took that one drink… when I couldn’t. (I had to pray that the taste of alcohol would vanish from my tongue).
But, OH, MY GOODNEESS, a fog lifted when I accepted that I couldn’t take that first drink. Even if no one else is proud of me, I am certainly proud of the strides and the progress that I have made. The struggle with addiction is real. I’m just here to tell you that I GET IT, and YOU GOT THIS.